The 2021 Big Ten men's basketball tournament will feature two No. 1 seeds in the NCAA men's basketball tournament, a few other top-10 teams and the top two National Player of the Year candidates.
The competition in Indianapolis should be a fantastic appetizer for what is to come in Indiana during March Madness.
Juwan Howard's Michigan Wolverines are the top seed, but they are far from a lock to leave the floor with the trophy. The Illinois Fighting Illini surged into the No. 2 seed through wins over Michigan, the Wisconsin Badgers and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Illinois' recent run should give it odds similar to Michigan to capture the title.
When they are available, the full odds can be found on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Big Ten Tournament Bracket and Schedule
Before the top teams hit the floor in Indianapolis, the focus will be on two of the top sleepers: the Michigan State Spartans and Maryland Terrapins.
The No. 8 and No. 9 seeds are on different trajectories. Michigan State just upset Michigan, while the Terps closed the regular season with losses to the Penn State Nittany Lions and Northwestern Wildcats.
Maryland's last victory came February 28 against the Spartans. At that juncture, the Terps had a five-game winning streak and were on the way to an easy berth in the field of 68. Mark Turgeon's side may still get into the Big Dance, but Selection Sunday could be a bit nervy for it if it loses to Michigan State.
That game is important to Michigan because it faces the winner of that contest. A third showdown with Michigan State in less than a week could await it. The two Michigan-based schools have won the past four Big Ten tournament titles, so the Wolverines could be susceptible to a quarterfinal upset.
While Michigan appears to have a difficult draw, Illinois landed the best path to the semifinals of the top four teams. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Indiana Hoosiers have both been inconsistent throughout the season, and Illinois should make light work of either in the final eight.
Luka Garza and the Iowa Hawkeyes could have to play the Wisconsin Badgers for the second time in five days, and the Purdue Boilermakers potentially face a tough No. 4-No. 5 showdown with the Ohio State Buckeyes, who were considered a contender for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA men's basketball tournament a few weeks ago.
An Iowa-Illinois semifinal would feature Garza and Ayo Dosunmu, who could be considered the top two players in Division I.
If Michigan is eliminated early, the possible No. 2 vs. No. 3 clash could produce the Big Ten tournament champion. Even if the Wolverines advance to the semifinals, there is no guarantee they will reach the final since Purdue is playing some of the best basketball in the conference.
Matt Painter's side may be the top long shot to back since it won five straight contests to end the regular season and suffered just three defeats dating back to January 8.
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